Gaithersburg junior running back Solomon Vault still has the speed that helped him rush for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore – and he showed it on an 80-yard touchdown sprint in Friday night’s 33-30 win over Richard Montgomery.
But Vault isn’t the same wiry runner he was a year ago. He’s added 20 pounds to become a more balanced back, and that transformation couldn’t have been more evident than on his game-winning run with seven seconds left against the Rockets (0-1). Vault took an inside zone hand off from the Richard Montgomery 5-yard line, and broke two tackles before barely breaking the plane – capping a dramatic come-from behind win for Gaithersburg and an emphatic opening night to Vault’s season. He finished with 195 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 19 carries.
Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the first full slate of games in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia football seasons.
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“Last year I was pretty disappointed, because coach never gave me a chance down by the goal line,” Vault said. “So I kind of made it my focus this year to put on some more weight so I could have an opportunity down there.”
Vault called his final score Friday night the most important touchdown of his career. The play capped a wild fourth quarter for Gaithersburg (1-0). After Richard Montgomery had scored with 50 seconds remaining to take a 30-27 lead, Gaithersburg got the ball at midfield following an onside kick attempt. Richard Montgomery had recovered two onside kicks earlier in the game – and tried to catch Gaithersburg off-guard one last time.
The deception didn’t work. The first three plays of Gaithersburg’s series went nowhere, but on fourth down, quarterback Nick Decarlo rushed for about 25 yards and got out of bounds. Following a completion down to the 5-yard line, Gaithersburg Coach Kreg Kephart wanted to run Vault with 14 second remaining. And after Vault powered his way through the Richard Montgomery defense to score, Kephart realized he had a player who has truly transformed himself during the offseason.
“That last touchdown just exemplifies all the work that he’s done,” Kephart said. “If he hadn’t put on 20 pounds and wasn’t squatting 500 pounds, he’d never would’ve broke that last tackle and gotten those two yards for that last touchdown. “
Next up for Gaithersburg will be Springbrook, which gave first-year Coach Adam Bahr his first career win on Friday night in a 14-7 win over Northwood. Bahr’s defense was put to exhaustion in the third quarter after Northwood engineered a 20-play scoring drive that ran nearly 12 minutes. The Blue Devils stiffened in the fourth quarter however, and their punting game pinned Northwood insider its own 20 on three different occasions in the final stanza.
Offensively, junior tight end Robert Bass Jr. caught two touchdown passes to lead Springbrook, and is a player who Bahr believes will give his young team a legitimate vertical threat who can stretch the field and help his sophomore quarterback Neiman Blain develop.
“We have good chemistry,” said Bass Jr. of Blain, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 65 yards on Friday. “He just has a connection with everyone on the team. He’s just that kind of guy.”